Filming in the great White North

May 2017

By now I’m sure you’ve figured it out, we love to travel with our work and as such, our equipment has seen some pretty interesting shooting conditions. From the scorching desert heat of the Nevada sun, to the warm and humid climate of French Guiana and Vietnam, we’ve put our gear to some of the ultimate endurance tests. But when our friends over at Coast Capital Savings asked if we were prepared to head to the frigid cold of Canada’s Yukon, we were a bit skeptical of what could be accomplished.

Sure, we’ve heard of -30 degree temperatures, but none of us at Pixel had ever really experienced it first hand, let alone filming in it.  Personally speaking, Vancouver is cold enough in the winter time, so the thought of shooting in Whitehorse in mid March seemed daunting. But of course, we were up to the challenge and started researching the ins and outs to filming in below freezing conditions.

Gear aside, we knew this project was going to be a fun one. It’s not every day that someone wins a trip of a lifetime to experience something on their Canadian Bucket List. Coast was excited to bring this idea to life for one of their employees by planning a three-day adventure filled with dog sledding, snowshoeing, and aurora viewing.



After doing a bit of research, we found out that filming in freezing temperatures is killer on battery life. This was especially true for Alkaline batteries and certain types of Lithium Ions. To combat this, we threw out all our Alkalines and Lithium Ion AA batteries and swapped them for Energizer’s Ultimate Lithium AA 20 Batteries to power our Sennheiser G3 lavs and Zoom H6 field recorder. Another thing we had to consider was condensation when entering the indoors after shooting outside. We kept track of every time we needed to re enter the indoors after being outside and ensured that we would wrap our cameras in a couple of bags.

This helped to reduce the dramatic change in temperature, keeping the sensors and lens elements condensation free. We also bought a few of these cheapo camera bags which worked out great when filming in snowy conditions. One thing we were most skeptical about was the performance of our shogun and Movi M5. We had read several mixed reviews on how well they do in below freezing temperatures. To our surprise, we didn’t have any issues at all aside from decreased battery life, but that was to be expected. The Movi looked like the inside of a freezer when we were done with it but it made it out alive… thankfully!

Gear aside, the trip turned out great. The weather was sunny and (almost) warm, the Aurora came out in full effect, the Movi didn’t die despite it hanging off the back end of a snow mobile, and we got to hang out with a bunch of puppies which later on decided to attack our Director, Peter.

We would definitely recommend heading up to the Yukon, just make sure to come prepared for the cold! Thanks to Coast Capital for making the trip happen as well as Air North and Up North Adventures who helped us while we were there!

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